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GREENWOOD Dist. — The Oklahoma Senate’s GOP passed SB 613, banning gender-affirming care for minors. SB 613 prohibits healthcare workers from providing gender-affirming medications, surgeries, and even counseling patients on gender-related issues.

Black Trans Youth Statistics

SB 613 hurts Black trans youth the most. Black LGBTQ+ youth face high rates of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Black trans youth also reported double the rate of suicidal ideation than their cisgender counterparts. Additionally, Black trans youth are less likely to receive comprehensive mental health care. 

The ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, and Freedom Oklahoma condemned the legislation.

“SB 613 continues to demonstrate Oklahoma’s crusade against transgender youth and the people who support the” HRC State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley stated. 

SB 613 is one of the strictest anti-trans laws in the country, criminalizing healthcare providers who support trans patients with threatening fines and licensure.

SB 613 Impacts Parent & Family Rights

“This is a clear violation of parental rights to make choices about their child and their medical care,” a spokeperson from the National Parents Union stated.

According to Kay Floyd (D-Oklahoma City), the bill impacts family and parents’ rights. “This is taking away from a parent their right to make medical decisions about their child.”

Meanwhile, the bill is also in opposition to gender-related medical experts across the country. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends “taking a ‘gender-affirming,’ nonjudgmental approach that helps children feel safe in a society that too often marginalizes or stigmatizes those seen as different.”

According to Ilana Sherer, MD, FAAP, executive committee member of the AAP Section on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health and Wellness, trans youth need affirming care from their providers. “They need our continued support and love, and those of us in the medical community stand prepared to help them.”

But the Oklahoma GOP refuses to listen to medical experts, instead pushing anti-trans bills across the state. Nearly 1% of 13-17-year-olds identify as transgender.

15 Anti-Trans Bills proposed in Oklahoma

Meanwhile, Oklahoma politicians have proposed at least 15 anti-trans bills, most aimed at gender-affirming care for trans youth. According to Nicole McAfee, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, “Ensuring trans-Oklahoma youth can access the care they need is a critical part of helping them succeed in school, creating positive relationships in their communities, and developing into healthy adults.” 

However, the bill is expected to pass when Governor Stitt signs it into law. But pro-LGBTQ+ groups across the country vow to fight back. 

According to Emily Wales, president and CEO, of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, “Oklahoma lawmakers will stop at nothing to deny people fact-based, expert medical care – which they know nothing about – to score cheap political points. We stand with the LGBTQIA+ community across Oklahoma and will fight these transphobic attacks, because trans youth and their families – not politicians – deserve to make their own health care decisions.”

SB613 is not yet law across Oklahoma. It now moves to a committee in the Oklahoma House of Representatives before a vote on the House floor. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...